There are so many sellers and so many different types of items for sale on eBay, that making money from the site can seem difficult if not impossible. With a little knowledge of eBay salesmanship though, you can make a good amount of cash. If your listing appeals to potential bidders and then you follow up with good customer service, you’re sure to start earning money. There are some simple things to look for and some basic guidelines to follow.

Choose Your Items Well

If you haven’t started listing yet, it’s best to begin with something you know. Look around your home for things you’d like to sell, and do a little research on eBay itself. See if people are bidding on your items or similar ones, and list the ones that seem hopeful. Watch for listings with multiple bids.

To keep the supply coming, get familiar with the thrift stores in your area, and check your local newspaper for garage sale listings. Any part of town with a handful of advertisements is a good place to explore for yard sales early on a Saturday morning. With a little experience, you can develop an eye for what will sell on eBay, and you’ll get sense of how much money you want to put out for your finds.

You Must Post Pictures

Why are there so many pages on eBay with a low number of hits or no hits at all? Pictures are a must. No images, no money. Few people click on a listing, let alone bid on it, without at least one picture. Nobody wants to surrender hard-earned cash without seeing the product. Your shots don’t have to be perfect, but they should show the product well. Take a handful from different angles, then choose two or three that represent your item best.

Write Thorough Descriptions

Again, since the bidder can’t see the actual item, you have to fill him in on what you’re selling. Make your descriptions clear and detailed, especially noting defects. Be honest, or you’ll pay when the time comes for feedback. Keep it friendly, ending with something like, “Thanks for looking!” Make the most of your post title too, since this is the first writing a potential bidder will see.

Choose an Attractive Starting Bid

Many people tend to start the bidding at the minimum amount of money they’d accept for an item, but this is actually a mistake. Admittedly, eBay is a bit of a gamble, but as you become comfortable with it, selling seems more like a calculated risk. Starting your item low will attract initial bidders hoping for a bargain.

It’s smart to look your item up on eBay before posting it, and to choose a competitive price. Unless your item is particularly valuable, reserves are off-putting to browsers. Even a high “Buy It Now” price can give the impression that you overvalue your merchandise, sending potential buyers elsewhere.

If you have a couple of bidders but nothing is changing, be patient. Sometimes, last-minute competition can cause the final price to shoot up within seconds. This is especially true when there are three or more people vying for the thing you’re selling. Experience will make you more comfortable with bidding patterns such as these.

See Bidders’ Questions as Salesmanship Opportunities

Every question sent to you on eBay is valuable. It is your chance to add a personal touch and to reach out to an individual customer. If you must discuss a defect, be honest, but also mention a good quality that outweighs the flaw in terms of value. Always be respectful and polite, but not formal. Earning the trust of a customer miles or even continents away does much to bring in bids and make you more money. Answer promptly to keep a customer interested.

Guard Your Reputation

No matter how attractive your listing may be, bad feedback serves as a warning signal to interested viewers. With so many different people selling on eBay with no face-to-face contact, feedback is how potential bidders judge your reliability. The more feedback you have, the more likely people are to bid on your auctions.

An occasional bad customer will come along. Stay calm. If and only if an irrational customer has left you a negative rant, you can dispute feedback and have it removed. Generally, though, redressing a genuine complaint or speaking gently to an angry person smooths things over. If you have hundreds of good ratings but one moderately bad one, don’t fret. Others understand that such things happen sometimes.

Giving bad feedback is as unattractive as getting it, so few people really want to do it. Avoid giving it yourself, and don’t drive other people to give it. If you’re unhappy, it’s smarter just to give none at all. Always remember to return good feedback for good feedback.

Pack Your Items Well

This is your last chance to make a good impression. Fill packages with enough padding to ensure safe delivery, and tape boxes well. Reinforcing edges and seams is wise. You can find good shipping containers in cardboard dumpsters to save money, but make sure that they’re in good shape and unsoiled. Include a printed receipt and jot a quick “thank you” on it. It’s smart to put clear tape over the address label too, to make sure the writing doesn’t get dampened and smeared.

This is eBay from the perspective of a successful seller. It’s possible to bring in a good income by being diligent and well-informed in your doings. The more you learn, the more easily you can make money on eBay, and the points listed above will give you a good, solid start.